A New Look at The General’s Trip to the 1964 World’s Fair
The General locomotive retired from service on the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway – a successor of the Western & Atlantic Railroad – in 1891. But, even in “retirement,” the famed locomotive was a draw at the many expositions where she appeared, including Chicago’s 1893 Columbian Exposition and Atlanta’s 1895 Cotton States Exposition.
By 1901, the famed locomotive was placed on “permanent” display at Union Depot in Chattanooga, Tenn.
After more than two decades on static display, the locomotive traveled to Baltimore in 1927 to participate in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s “Fair of the Iron Horse.” That trip started a new chapter in the General’s history as the famed steamer toured the country, attracting throngs of fans wherever she went.
Six years after the “Fair of the Iron Horse,” the General appeared at the 1933 “Century of Progress” Exhibition in Chicago. In 1939, the locomotive appeared at the “New York World’s Fair,” and in 1948, the General traveled to the “Chicago Railroad Fair.”
As the locomotive approached her 100th birthday in 1955, she was as popular as ever. For the centennial observation of the Great Locomotive Chase in 1962, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad overhauled the engine, adding modern air brakes and converting the steamer to burn oil.
Two years after the General toured the country under her own power as part of the now-famous centennial tour, she trekked once again to New York, this time for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. As the picture above shows, the locomotive’s smokestack was removed so the General could safely pass beneath low bridges during transport into New York Harbor.
The General eventually steamed her way to the Better Living Center at the Fair and was displayed for the summer of 1964.
The above picture, which has not been widely displayed or published, is part of the extensive railroad collection of the late Col. James G. Bogle. Until his death in 2010 at the age of 94, Bogle was the preeminent authority on the Great Locomotive Chase and collected hundreds of artifacts connected to the daring Civil War event.
Click here to read more about the collection, which the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History recently acquired. Did you see the General at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York? Share your experience below.